March 27, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 86


March 24, 2023

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COVID-19 Whistleblower Legislation Introduced in Congress

Today, a group of Democrat Members of Congress introduced the first COVID-19 related whistleblower bill since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. The COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act focuses on the misuse of federal monies being spent to combat the virus and its economic impact. It will also cover reports of “substantial and specific dangers to the public health and safety” in federally supported programs.

“This is a major step forward,” said Stephen M. Kohn, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Whistleblower Center and a partner in the whistleblower law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto. “The bill permits whistleblowers who suffer retaliation to report COVID-19 related violations and to file a case in federal court and obtain compensatory and exemplary damages. These are among some of the ‘best practices’ affirmed in the bill,” Kohn added.

“We hope that the Republican caucus will join in this reform effort and endorse strong protections for whistleblowers. Whistleblower protection is a bi-partisan issue and has historically enjoyed strong support from both Democrats and Republican,” Kohn added.

Among the features included in the whistleblower bill are:

  • 3 year statute of limitations

  • No mandatory arbitration

  • An investigation by the Department of Labor

  • A right to have a case heard in federal court by a jury

  • A make whole remedy, including compensatory and exemplary damages and attorney fees

  • The right to file concerns confidentially

Whistleblowers will be protected if they raise their concerns before a wide range of bodies, including Congress and all state or federal regulatory or law enforcement agencies.

Ben Kostyack also contributed to this article.

Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2023. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 167

About this Author

Mary Jane Wilmoth Whistleblower Attorney Kohn Kohn & Colapinto Law Firm
Managing Partner

Mary Jane Wilmoth is the firm’s managing partner. She litigated cases involving whistleblower protection for environmental and nuclear industry whistleblowers, and Qui Tam/False Claims whistleblowers. Ms. Wilmoth joined the firm in 1992 and worked on cases and hearings that involved complex nuclear and environmental regulations. In her efforts to uphold such safeguards in the American workplace, she has helped to strengthen whistleblower rights in licensing and...